Book Search

If this list is Google’s idea of the history books we might want to read on our mobile phones, Amazon can breathe easy. Five books are listed. One purports to be the memoirs of Napoleon; two are by those well known historians Washington Irving and Ralph Waldo Emerson; there is a naval history of the Napoleonic wars, published in 1837 – and to conclude the selection, Daniel Defoe’s True Born Englishman, and an illustrated edition of the Pilgrim’s Progress.

It’s like something you’d find in a Thirties Evelyn Waugh novel, describing the great lost library of Abyssinia

Book Search.

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4 Responses to Book Search

  1. Andrew says:

    There’s a “Load more” link at the bottom of the page, which gives you access to many more books. What’s more of a concern is that the ones I picked at random were unreadable because of poor quality OCR – the sort of crappy quality I got from software given away with a scanner ten years ago. A shame, because Catherine Macaulay’s History of England, for example, is something I’d like to read.

  2. acb says:

    Catherine Macauley? I was hoping they would have Hume’s history, which is an unending treasure house.

  3. Andrew says:

    CM was contemporary with Hume (twenty years younger), and a radical – Christopher Hill mentions her work in The Century of Revolution as carrying the ideas of the levellers into the next century.

  4. H. E. Baber says:

    For a good time read _Inventing Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians_ by Jeffrey Burton Russell. It includes a discussion of Washington Irving’s invention of the myth, which American school children learn as fact, that prior to Columbus’ discovery of the Western Hemisphere Europeans believed the earth was flat. Interesting grist for your mill, Andrew, because Irving’s myth, and it’s popular acceptance, were part of the anti-religious and, in particular, anti-Catholic package that represented religion in opposition to science.

    As a kid growing up in the US the flat earth story was presented to us as fact. Columbus, we were taught, “proved that the earth was round.” I remember seeing a film clip in school showing how in the Middle Ages the sun was eclipsed, darkness enveloped the earth and Superstition reigned. Researching for a piece on Darwin, I read another wonderful history, Larsen, _A Summer of the Gods_, on the Scopes trial with good good stuff on turn-of-the-century American pop lit promoting the “war of science and religion” meme and discussions of the Scopes trial praising the activities of Mencken, Darrow and other media savvy village atheists of the period as further victories in the war against Superstition.

    We Americans didn’t just export American-style fundamentalism: we exported Mencken-style New Atheism.

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